Background Self-sampling kits (called Pick-up packs or PUPs in our service) have been introduced to increase STI screening in difficult to engage groups with high prevalence rates, such as male adolescents. There has been little focus on characterisation of its users.
Aim(s) To examine PUP uptake rates and describe the socio-demographic and clinical characteristics of their users compared with those attending face-to-face clinics in a large, inner city, Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) service in London.
Methods Retrospective study from 2012 to 2015 comparing 3 service user groups: (1) face-to-face attendances only (2) PUPs screening only (3) ‘mixed attenders’ using both. We compared: demographics, number of visits, STI diagnosis, treatment and HIV and syphilis testing.
ResultsPUP users are younger (29 yrs vs 25 yrs, p < 0.001). More men use PUP only (69% vs 32%). More heterosexual patients use face-to-face only (95%) compared with mixed attenders (89%), sexual orientation is not recorded for PUP users. No difference in ethnicity was found. Mixed attenders have the highest average number of visits and incidence of CT, GC and TV (Table 1). Incidence is lowest in the PUP only group. Nearly 40% with a CT/GC diagnosis on PUP did not return for treatment vs 10% in the other groups and only 77% had an HIV/Syphillis test.
Discussion There is satisfactory uptake but uncertainty as to whether we reach the right target group. The treatment rate for STIs diagnosed using these kits is inadequate. Mixed attenders demonstrated more risk-taking behaviours.
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